Quickly Populate your Workspace ONE App Catalog with Enterprise App Repository

Oct 12, 2020
Josue Negron

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Josue Negron is senior technical marketing architect for VMware End-User Computing, focusing on partner integrations, identity management and the Windows platform.

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Let’s face it; Windows applications are hard! In fact, two-thirds of IT effort is spent getting these apps merely ready for the user, that is, packaging and testing these applications. The rest of the pain is shared in keeping these apps up-to-date or “patched.” Enterprises can have thousands of apps they need to push to users’ devices. However, most only patch less than 50 on a regular cadence. Also, awareness of new patches and their source can be challenging to find, and the configuration and packaging of app patches are time-consuming and often not automated. Lastly, I found that customers tend to have multiple solutions or tools required for patching and have little to no integration with MDM solutions.

Wouldn’t it be easier if IT had one place to source their commonly used apps and be assured that they “just work” and are the latest versions available to deploy to users’ devices?

With Workspace ONE, you can!

Workspace ONE introduced a new Enterprise App Repository starting with VMware Workspace ONE UEM 20.07. This repository is built for admins and will serve as a one-stop-shop to procure 100s of commonly used, prepackaged, and preconfigured apps that IT can instantly deploy to end-users’ Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub catalog. Furthermore, the apps in the repository are kept up to date and pretested across the last three OS builds, ensuring a guaranteed install!

With Workspace ONE, spend less time packaging and testing apps and more time delivering the experiential services that your users care about!

Be sure to check out How to Transition to the Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub for Windows 10 to take advantage of a unified app catalog, people search, custom homepage, and hub notifications to further enhance employee’s experiences!

Requirements

Enterprise App Repository in Action

Here is a high-level overview of steps to get started with Enterprise App Repository:

  1. Navigate to Apps & Books in the Workspace ONE UEM console, then click Add.
  2. Select From Enterprise App Repository in the drop-down list.
  3. You will now see 100+ up-to-date apps which can be filtered or searched, and can be added to your app catalog. You can either directly search for the app, or use the Language or Architecture filters.
  4. After you have selected your app, click Next, then optionally modify the app’s display name, then proceed by clicking Next.
  5. Review the summary before adding the app, then click Save to add the app. Lastly, you must assign the application for deployment.

For more details, check out Deploying Win32 Applications: VMware Workspace ONE Operational Tutorial.

Updating Apps

Alright, so I kind of jumped the gun on this section when this blog was first published and said that you couldn’t use Enterprise App Repository to update apps. Boy, was I wrong! Thankfully, an amazing developer read my blog and pointed out I was mistaken.

Here’s the good news, you can use Enterprise App Repository today to update apps in your catalog! Not only are the apps kept up-to-date from the Enterprise App Catalog, but you can also search the Enterprise App Catalog for updated versions and update your current apps with those updates. Let’s jump into how to do these updates! Spoiler alert, you are about to learn some significant time-saving skills!

  1. Navigate to the app list view in the Workspace ONE UEM console, then click Add and select From Enterprise App Repository. We will be updating the Firefox app, which is currently on version 79.0.0.
  2. Search for the application you want to update, then select the radio button and click Next. Notice that the new version of Firefox is 80.0.1.
  3. Lastly, click Next on the Details page, then review the summary. If you are sure you want to add this application, click Save. That’s all that’s required to update the app!
  4. You can validate that version 80.0.1 was added and is automatically assigned to the same assignments as version 79.0.0. 

Okay, okay, now for the gotchas! Yeah, I know you are all thinking this is too good to be true. That or man, Josue, you really messed up the first time around. The UI will inform you that you have selected an app with a matching version that exists in your catalog with a warning message that says you must first delete the app before using the Enterprise App Repository to add that same app. I found it helpful that I could just quickly click on all the apps to see which ones needed updates, not a best practice but useful indeed.

Now let’s cover the actual gotcha to be mindful of: if you have EXE or ZIP apps that already exist in your console then use the Enterprise App Repository to add the same apps, duplicates will be created. What I mean is that you will see two entries that are not linked together (versioned together). However, for MSIs, this process will always work flawlessly. Therefore, I suggest that if you are using Enterprise App Repository to add apps, be mindful of any duplicates. Consider and test the impact on existing devices in your environment before making a decision.

I implore everyone to give Enterprise App Repository a try to see how quickly you can populate your enterprise app catalog and stay tuned for all the future enhancements!

Architecture – Behind the Scenes of Enterprise App Repository

App manifest data such as app name, version, download URL, icon image URL, language, vendor, and deployment options (when to install, how to install, and when to call install complete) are stored in the Enterprise App Repository catalog service. The catalog service is updated with new apps, versions, and languages after validations are completed by our R&D team. Therefore, what you see today can change tomorrow. This also means that irrespective of your Workspace ONE UEM console version (as long as you’re on 20.07+), you will also see the latest apps available for deployment when accessing the Enterprise App Repository.

The Enterprise App Repository is solely responsible for providing the Workspace ONE UEM console with the required app metadata needed to add the app. It’s important to note that the catalog service will return the download URL, and then this third-party download URL is used to download the app binaries, which then gets uploaded to your Workspace ONE UEM console. This is why there is a warning on the summary page when adding a new app, as shown in the following screenshot.

Currently Supported Apps and Languages

As of today, Enterprise App Repository supports the following apps:

Both x64 and x32 versions are included where applicable.

As of today, the following languages are supported: Brazilian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English (UK), English (US), Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, and Ukrainian.

How to Request Additional Apps or Languages

You can send an email to EARrequests@vmware.com. Provide as much detail as possible, including the current use-case and deployment sizes, which might help us prioritize.

Additional Options to Populate your Windows App Catalog

Don’t forget that you can export apps from existing tools to populate your Workspace ONE catalog. You can leverage Flexera AdminStudio to migrate your existing MSI apps to Workspace ONE, or if your apps are in Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr), you can leverage Workspace ONE AirLift. Want to see how this is done with Workspace ONE AirLift? Check out this simulated/interactive demo of Workspace ONE AirLift.

Summary

To recap, Workspace ONE Enterprise App Repository will serve as a one-stop-shop for IT to procure 100s of commonly used, prepackaged, and preconfigured apps that are ready to deploy to the end-user. Further, the apps available in the Enterprise App Repository are kept up to date and pretested, ensuring guaranteed install! So now, your IT spends less time packaging and testing apps and more time delivering the experiential services that your users care about!

Additional Resources

VMware Docs: Add Windows applications from the Enterprise Application Repository

Tech Zone Activity Path: Creating an Enterprise App Catalog

VMware Workspace ONE UEM 2007 Release Notes

Blog: Liquit extends cooperation with VMware

Tech Zone

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